I Gained 40 Pounds My Freshman Year – These Are the 6 Things I Wish I Did Differently

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Growing up, I wasn’t overweight, but I was definitely not the thinnest in my friend group. My weight started bothering me when I was 12 years old because of comments my dad made about my weight, and that’s when I went on my first diet. Throughout high school, I attempted to lose weight by eating very little during the day. Yet restricting my food only led to binging at night, because I was so hungry by dinner time — I actually ended up gaining weight. I was still at a healthy size, but felt self-conscious about being thicker than my other friends.

When I went away to college, I found freedom in the all-you-can-eat dining halls, the candy at every store, the 2 a.m. pizza deliveries, and the fact that I could eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s and there was no one to tell me not to. This was the age before iPhones (wow, am I dating myself!), so there were no selfies or photos posted on social media to make me realize that by the end of my freshman year, I had gained 40 pounds.

Aside from feeling bad about my size, I was experiencing terrible digestive issues and non-stop bloating. I wasn’t sleeping well, felt sluggish throughout the day, had terrible acne, and started to feel really sad and avoided social situations. What was supposed to be one of the happiest phases of my life turned into the opposite.

A little weight gain your freshman year is normal, but 40 pounds felt like too much on my 5’2″ frame. And the worst part is that the unhealthy habits I learned my freshman year made me keep that weight on until well after college, and it was really hard to lose. If I could go back to 1995 (OMG, that’s a long time ago!), here are the six things I would have done differently to stay healthy and prevent that incredible amount of weight gain.

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